Here are 30 Pakistani & North Indian dinner recipes that are wholesome, easy-to-make, and 100% delicious!All of these recipes are tested-and-perfected and loved by thousands.This post includes restaurant-famous recipes like Butter Chicken and Chicken Biryani as well as a few lesser-known recipes like Chicken Pulao or Zucchini (Courgette) Curry.
A few years ago, my blog was lucky to be a finalist for the Saveur Blog Awards in the Most Inspired Dinner Recipes category. Until then, it hadn’t occurred to me that the majority of the recipes on my blog are in fact dinner recipes. I realized this is a reflection of my preferences as a Pakistani-American. In many areas I’m more American than Pakistani, but when it comes to dinner, I find South Asian main dishes to be the most satisfying meals in the world.
This roundup includes the top 30+ dinner recipes on my blog. It features a wide range of recipes including vegetarian recipes, rice dishes, chicken, and meat recipes. The majority of these are one-pot, quick and easy recipes that require no fancy techniques or special ingredients.
What is a typical Indian Dinner?
North Indian and Pakistani dinners usually consist of one main dish. This main dish (or curry, for simplicity) can be as straightforward as a dal or as elaborate as korma. In South Asian cuisine, you’ll find the main dish is almost always served along with a carb such as roti, rice, or naan.
If the main dish has plenty of sauce or ‘curry’, you can serve it with either basmati rice or flatbread.
For curries on the ‘drier’ side, you’ll typically need flatbread such as naan, roti, or paratha.
If the main dish itself is a rice dish such as biryani, you can serve alone along with yogurt or raita.
You can also serve small accompaniments such as chopped vegetables, raita, achar, or chutney along with the dinner.
What to serve with these dinner recipes
These recipes make complete meals when paired with roti, naan, paratha, or basmati rice. However, you can substitute roti or naan with other flatbreads such as pita bread or tortillas. You can also use any type of rice in place of basmati rice.
This authentic Indian & Pakistani-style Chana Masala recipe is vibrant, with just the right amount of tanginess, and rich in spicy flavor. This recipe makes tender, flavorful chickpeas in a perfectly spiced curry and requires simple ingredients that are commonly used in South Asian cooking. It’s an easy weeknight dinner that’s healthy, naturally vegan, and gluten-free.
Baingan Bharta is a prized Indian and Pakistani (Punjabi) dish. It consists of roasted eggplant in a delicately spiced dry curry. This recipe includes instructions on how to broil it in the oven, plus some essential tips on how to get it to taste amazing!
Spinach and Potato Curry – Aloo Palak (Easy & Authentic)
5 (41 ratings)
This quick and easy Spinach & Potato (Aloo Palak) curry recipe is healthy, full of authentic flavor, and naturally vegetarian (or vegan, if you omit the ghee). This curry is unique in that the potatoes boil on the side while you're preparing the curry, reducing any extra time to wait on the potatoes.
This is an easy Pakistani Chana Dal made in the Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker). Chana Dal (or Split Chickpeas) are cooked with spices and given a simple tadka for an easy dinner. Naturally gluten-free and Vegan optional.
This Instant Pot Split Red Lentil (Masoor) Dal curry is a quick, easy, and authentic Pakistani/North Indian-style dal recipe. It's naturally gluten-free, vegetarian (or optional vegan), and cooks within minutes!
This easy Pakistani & Indian-style Bhindi Masala recipe (Okra curry) consists of stir-fried okra enveloped in a savory onion and tomato curry. I’ve tested this dry bhindi curry recipe countless times and I’m confident it will blow you away.
Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Pulao (Chickpea Pilaf) – 20-minute prep!
4.96 (42 ratings)
This Instant Pot Pakistani Chana Pulao is easy, flavorful, and it takes less than 20 minutes of total prep time! Perfect for a weeknight dinner yet elegant enough for guests. Naturally gluten-free and vegetarian!
An Authentic Chicken Curry (or Chicken Salan) recipe made in the traditional Pakistani and North Indian style. This is a simple, one-pot curry recipe that you can make in under an hour. This recipe includes instructions for using bone-in or boneless chicken.
Chicken Shashlik (Saucy with Gravy) – Indo-Chinese Recipe
5 (13 ratings)
Chicken Shashlik is an Indo-Chinese recipe that's made with boneless chicken, bell peppers, and onion. Similar to Chicken Manchurian, this dish is coated in a sweet and spicy gravy that's bursting with flavor. This is an easy, kid-friendly weeknight dinner that can be made quickly and easily with pantry staples.
This coconut chicken curry with potatoes is made from scratch in the Pakistani & North Indian style and uses coconut milk to give it a korma-like finish. This recipe uses clean, wholesome ingredients and good-for-you spices that you likely have on hand!
Here's a quick and easy 25-minute Spicy Cashew Chicken recipe with an Indo-Chinese twist. This recipe includes tips on how to get tender chicken and gives intense, yet balanced flavor! Gluten-free adaptable!
Beef Kofta Curry, or simply kofte, is a traditional Pakistani curry made of tender meatballs simmered in a spicy, flavorful sauce. This recipe has all the authentic flavor of old-fashioned kofte but it’s made in an easier, more approachable way.
This Pakistani and Indian-style Keema Matar (Ground Beef and Peas Curry) is an easy, one-pot keema recipe that’s deeply flavorful with no whole spices used. This recipe also includes tips on how to make Keema curry with ground chicken.
A simple, uncomplicated Seekh Kebab recipe made with ingredients you likely have on hand. This recipe includes tips on how to make flavorful, tender kebabs that don't break or fall off the skewers. Includes pan-frying, baking, and air-frying instructions.
Here's a recipe for an authentic, homestyle, Pakistani & North Indian style Aloo Keema (Keema Curry with potatoes). This is a traditional, one-pot recipe that's simple, easy-to make, and gives the most flavorful results!
Pakistani Zucchini (Courgette) Curry | Toriyan (Torai ki Sabzi)
4.98 (93 ratings)
This is an easy, flavorful, fan-favorite Indian and Pakistani Zucchini (Courgette) Curry called Toriyan or torai ki sabzi in Urdu. This is a tasty vegan curry that'll transform everyday Zucchini into something even kids will love!
Whole Masoor Dal (Brown Lentil Curry) recipe made quick and easy in the Instant Pot. This is a no-soak (unless you want to), dump-and-go recipe you can make using any brown lentils. Healthy and flavorful with only 15 minutes of total hands-on time! Naturally vegetarian and vegan optional.
This Instant Pot Pakistani Beef Curry, or stew, is an easy recipe in which boneless beef stew meat is cooked alongside yogurt and whole spices. Also called Istu, or Ishto, this is a deeply flavorful yet healthy, dump-and-go Instant Pot beef recipe.
1/3-1/2cupneutral oil, such as grapeseed or avocado
2small to medium(~320-350g )yellow onions, quartered
6-8(~1tbsp)garlic cloves, crushed
2lbs(907g)bone-in, cut up, skinless chicken, cleaned and excess skin removed (See Note 1)
2 1/4tspkosher salt, divided
1-2smallgreen chili peppers (such as Serrano or Thai chili), stems removed and thinly sliced
2small(~200g)tomatoes (I use Roma), quartered
1tspwhole coriander seeds, roughly crushed
5-6whole black peppercorns
1tspred chili powder
1/2tspcrushed chili flakes, optional
1/4tspground black pepper
2-3tbspcilantro leaves, chopped
Place the onions in a food processor and use the pulse function to chop finely but not blend.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium-high or high heat (depending on your stove). Once hot, add the oil and chopped onions. Sauté until the onions turn golden (~12-15 min). Meanwhile, in the same food processor, add the tomatoes and pulse to chop into a rough purée. Deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of water.
Once the water dries up, add the garlic and ginger and sauté until the raw smell disappears and the onions deepen in color (~1 min). If needed, deglaze the pan again with 2 tbsp of water. Add the chicken and 1/4 tsp salt and fry it until it changes color, about 5 minutes.
Add the whole spices, ground spices, remaining salt (2 tsp), and green chili pepper. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan if the bits start to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, until you can see the oil separating from the curry. Add 1 3/4 – 2* (see Note 2) cups of water and stir to mix. Cover the pan to bring to a gentle boil.
Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to a simmer (low or low-medium). Cover and allow the curry to cook for 25 minutes, stirring once in between. The chicken should be very tender. Taste and add salt, if needed. Uncover and continue to allow the chicken to simmer for 3-5 minutes, until the oil rises to the top.
Turn off the heat. Garnish with garam masala and cilantro. Serve with rice, roti, or naan.
Note 1: See post for how to make this with boneless chicken breast or thighs.Note 2: Adjust water amount according to how much curry/salan you prefer. Keep in mind the chicken and tomatoes will also release their moisture.